The death of Sandra Bland: unanswered questions, community reaction, and violence against black bodies

Listen 00:48:42

Guests: David Harris, Dorothy Roberts, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

On July 10th, Sandra Bland was pulled over for failing to signal before changing lanes. The traffic stop, which should’ve been routine in nature, escalated when the police officer who pulled Bland over ordered her to get out of her vehicle after she refused to put out her cigarette. Ms. Bland was subsequently arrested, put in jail, and three days later she was found in her cell hanging from a plastic bag. Numerous questions continue to swirl around her case. The coroner said the death was a suicide, but her family has disputed that she was suicidal. There has been a massive social media reaction to the event – spawning the hashtags #SayHerName and #SandraBland – and the event has brought police violence against black women into the spotlight. In this hour of Radio Times, a conversation about the arrest and death of Sandra Bland, rights of citizens and police, and police brutality against black bodies. We’ll hear from DAVID HARRIS of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law on what constitutes a “lawful order” at a traffic stop and legal issues relating to Bland’s case. Then we’ll hear from DOROTHY ROBERTS of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and KIMBERLÉ WILLIAMS CRENSHAW of Columbia Law School on the history violence inflicted upon black women’s bodies and how Bland’s death has impacted the black community.

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